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Chicago’s Lincoln Park & Its Spring Offerings

Just two blocks east of Optima Lakeview lives Chicago’s largest recreational area, Lincoln Park. Throughout the year, the beloved park is host to a plethora of unique events and activities, but Spring is one of the best seasons to witness the more than three square miles of greenery come alive and enjoy all of its enchanting affordances. Here are our favorite activities we believe you should take advantage of this season:

While the park is widely known for being home to the cherished Lincoln Park Zoo, Conservatory, Chicago History Museum, countless other treasures line the seven-mile stretch of greenery. As the weather gets warmer, one of the best ways to experience Lincoln Park is by taking a stroll through one of its various paths. 

One of the most familiar, the Lincoln Park Trail, is perfect for those interested in observing some of the park’s most iconic monuments, sculptures and murals. The five-mile stretch offers views of Self Portrait, Chevron, the You Know What You Should Do mural and the Alexander Hamilton Monument.

The park is also home to great eateries and restaurants that provide amazing views of the vast greenery and not-so-distant skyline. The Patio at Cafe Brauer, North Pond and Bacino’s Italian Grill each bring their unique flavors to the park, promising visitors unforgettable eats and refreshing atmospheres. 

Another easy stop for food and entertainment is at Lincoln Park’s Theater on the Lake. Found at the end of Fullerton Avenue on Lakefront Trail, Theater on the Lake is one of the steadfast champions of Chicago’s off-Loop theater community. With special events and shows happening throughout the season into the summer, it’s one of the greatest treasures in the park. 

Along with being home to the Waveland Tennis Court, Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course, Lincoln Park Archery Range and countless other recreational activities, the park hosts various free and unique excursions. From yoga to farmer’s markets, Lincoln Park provides visitors with a handful of unique events throughout the Spring, all of which can be found on their website here.

Summertime in Chicago

Summertime in Chicago brings an abundance of sunshine, blue skies, and long days to spend exploring everything the city has to offer. Optima Signature, located just east of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, is perfectly positioned to access the best of the city’s summer activities. Here are just a few of the many adventurous things to do this summer in Chicago:

Farmer’s Markets

Every Tuesday from 7 am – 2 pm through October 26, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) Farmer’s Market sets up in the plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art just blocks away from Optima Signature. The SOAR market features a diverse array of local vendors and seasonal produce including Back of the Yards Coffee, a woman and Latinx owned coffee company based in Chicago’s south side, Bennison’s Bakery based out of the North Shore, flowers from Oosterhoff & Son Flowers, and numerous farms from Indiana and Wisconsin. 

Of course, a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art is always fun after a day at the market. The museum champions the new and unexpected in contemporary art and culture and has an exhibit on Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now through October 3.

Just a short bike or bus ride away, the Green City Market in Lincoln Park runs from 7 am to 1 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, May through October. The market features sustainable vendors and community programming. Chef’s and vendors offer wholesale pricing on their fresh products and many local restaurants use the market to obtain ingredients. 

After visiting the market, be sure to explore the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the nature boardwalk.

A group of kayaks floating down a body of water

The Chicago River

Spending a hot day on the water is a perfect Chicago summer activity. Optima Signature’s proximity to the Chicago River makes e-boating or kayaking a perfect outdoor activity. 

Urban Kayaks located on the Chicago River Walk provides guided kayak tours and rentals seven days a week through the end of the summer. Chicago Electric Boat Company, also located on the River Walk, offers environmentally-friendly electric boat rentals that can be exhilarating experiences for water novices and experts alike.

Chicago’s River Walk, open until 11 pm, offers beautiful views of the city and the river’s bridges, restaurants, and cafes, and is a perfect place to end a summer day.

For Chicago residents and visitors alike, the summer months are precious. So while we still have these long, warm days and sunny skies, make sure you venture out to enjoy the bounty at the iconic neighborhood farmers markets and the unique access to our namesake river!

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